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How good are the brakes on a 1981 XS650 Special?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Focus Research, Nov 20, 2020.

  1. arcticXS

    arcticXS XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    Sourcing and fitting the OEM dual disc setup is a total waste of time and money IMHO. You may just as well weld a small anvil to the front fender. It has about the same effect on the suspension, without doing much for the braking. The stock dual discs, calipers, pads, master cylinder and brake lines from my -77 live in the bottom of a cardboard box, as long as I keep the bike. A single 298 to 320 mm disc and a decent caliper with a correct size master will give all the brake you need.
    grizld1, madmax-im and gggGary like this.
  2. grizld1

    grizld1 Grumpy old man Top Contributor

    Good comments, Gents. But let me add just one more thing (ain't there always just one more thing?) The rotor should be carefully deglazed and cleaned when new pads are installed. Wipe it down with solvent to remove brake dust, oil, and grease, whether you see any or not. Then sand the surface with medium sand paper to remove glaze and any trace of old compound. Use "garnet paper" for this, that's the kind with actual sand on it; aluminum oxide wet-or-dry paper will leave traces that will contaminate new pads. Then wipe down with solvent again.
    gggGary, Greyandridin and arcticXS like this.
  3. 650trader

    650trader XS650 Addict

    Euro XS650's have smaller diameter discs and the lower fork legs are different as the
    calipers are lower down to fit to the smaller discs.
    gggGary likes this.
  4. Machine

    Machine Race the wind Top Contributor

    Even better than solvent, I use Isopropanol (alcohol) which evaporates immediately.
    gggGary likes this.
  5. Machine

    Machine Race the wind Top Contributor

  6. 650Skull

    650Skull SSSSSSSSSlither Top Contributor

    Interesting.............How do you fit the calipers to a 300mm rotor when the caliper mounts are for the smaller 265mm disk
    gggGary likes this.
  7. arcticXS

    arcticXS XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    Caliper adapter plate. Like I did on mine with a 320 mm disc and Brembo caliper.
    Anyway, wasn't the single disc on the 73 to 76 298 mm?
    gggGary likes this.
  8. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    Yes, so were the '77 and later ones.
    arcticXS likes this.
  9. bosco659

    bosco659 XS650 Addict XS650.com Supporter

    Agreed that deglazing is important. I have a disc conditioner that fits on the end of a drill that does an excellent job of scuffing up the surface of the disc for proper bedding in if new pads. I’ll post a pic later when I find it in my tool box.
    grizld1 and gggGary like this.
  10. bosco659

    bosco659 XS650 Addict XS650.com Supporter

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